Sunday, 15 September 2013

A Few Plants

The rocky cliffs and shore line of the west coast of Menorca, is a great place to spot lots of plant species.  By far the most common of these was the Rock Samphire (Crithmum maritimum).  This fleshy-leaved member of the carrot family is common in the UK as well as the Mediterranean region and if you crush the leaves betwen your fingers, they smell of furniture polish.
Rock Samphire is said to have a peppery taste and all parts of the plant can be pickled in vinegar or eaten raw as a salad ingredient.
Another common plant in the rocks of these coastal parts, is the Helitrope (Heliotropium europaeum).  The long inflorescences of small, white flowers, start off curled up, but straighten and open out as the flowers open.
Going back to the fleshy-leaved plants, a low-growing, dome-forming plant of the rocks which caught my eye despite having no flowers on it, was a strange member of the Sea-lavender family.  This one is called Limonium minutum and the fleshy leaves are typical of so many plants which make their home among the bone-dry sun-baked rocks.  Their waxy surface layer helps to conserve moisture and in this case, make a colourful picture as much as the flowers themselves.
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